Gardeners’ World: ‘Crazy bearded plantaholic’ has turned his house into a jungle

First broadcast in 1968, the sedate Gardeners’ World is now into its 53rd series on the BBC. Friday evening’s episode was dedicated to the wonders of houseplants.

Presenters Frances Tophill and Nick Bailey celebrated the joyous simplicity of indoor gardening in a special program from Oxford Botanic Garden. Houseplants have the ability to make your house truly feel like a home, filling the interior with some life.

As Frances stated in her intro to the programme, since 2019 sales figures for house plants have gone up 50%. But perhaps the majority of this increase was down to a certain Jonny Balchandani who we were introduced to early in the BBC Two broadcast.

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“We’re surrounded by nature, gardening has always been something so important and key to us,” said Jonny. “W ith time I got more interested in indoor plants rather than outdoor plants.”

The eccentric character then introduced himself as The Bearded Plantaholic, welcoming viewers into his jungle.

The digital marketing director admitted that 90% of the comments he receives come in some variation of “Crazy. The man is crazy.” “Some of what I’m doing is quite creative, even though I do have to conform to looking like a penguin sometimes when I go into work,” Balchandani went on to say.

True to a real-life jungle, there are two levels adopted by the plant enthusiast. The camera showed us around the jungle floor and then panned to the upper part of the house, treating viewers to the hanging plants, creepers and climbers that go up to the canopy.

Among his variety of plants on show were a variegated Monstera Albo, as well as a Thai Constellation. However, he said that his favorite plants had to be the philodendrons as they’re more forgiving than other plants, in addition to being stunning.

“Sometimes it does cheese off the partner a little bit, Charlotte,” admitted Jonny, “she’s been really, really understanding. Definitely not to begin with.” Charlotte added “I’m learning to share him with his plants that’s for sure. Over the last two or three years, it’s gone from having two or three plants to two or three hundred.”

That being said, she later admitted to start to become quite proud of her surroundings, “I quite like it, it’s nice it’s relaxing.” She also said that it was good for the children as it was teaching them that it’s good to have a hobby and be passionate about something.

Jonny concluded by saying: “It’s definitely now a way of life. You’re alone with your plants and with your thoughts.” Unsurprisingly, opening up his special house to the public got Twitter talking.

Among the viewers to react were Hugo Brady Brown, who asked “Are all viewers of Gardeners World eccentric or just the ones who get on screen? #GardenersWorld” while Andrea Thomas joked “That is a greenhouse with a settee #GardenersWorld.”

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